Clear blue skies.

Was out for lunch on a very hot Sunday and saw this clear blue sky. Not a common sight in sunny Singapore where humidity is generally pretty high. Chases away the blues that was awaiting on Monday. Happy I got through the Monday well. Now just for the rest of the week. Have a great week everyone.

Monochrome beauty

Was at a wedding reception today. The venue was at a beautiful part of Singapore with retro shop houses lining the streets. This place is away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby financial district. Wanted to take a longer walk to take more pictures but it was getting too hot.

My first attempt at monochrome photos. Please leave comments. Thanks.

Principle of travel

One thing I have in my mind when travelling free and easy is to have one primary objective for the travel. This round the objective was to visit the Kinkakuji temple to have a look at the golden pavilion. Having one simple objective to fulfil during the trip makes me feel less stress about having to visit multiple places to make the most of the trip. This round I almost missed it because of the busy and short schedule. But I finally managed to visit the temple on the very last day of the trip. It was really a nice and tranquil place to be and there was not a giant crowd. I really wonder how will it be like to spend a day just sitting in the pavilion to find my inner peace.

Tax free shopping in Japan.

Just wanted to share something about tax free shopping in Japan from my own experience. Tax free shopping in Japan is quite hassle free and some shops have dedicated cashiers for it. Others you’ll need to claim the tax refund but from the mall itself. Overall, I didn’t have to go to any customs office at the airport to get my tax refunds.

The retailers and malls who do the refunds will do the necessary procedures and stick like loads of receipts on your passport and can make it look quite thick depending on how much you shop.

Few things to note when you buy tax free items in Japan:

1) minimum spending of ¥5000 for consumables and general goods each. Some malls offer the ability to combine receipts from different shops.

2) Goods will be sealed and can’t be used until you depart the country. There certain things which you use immediately such as electronic items.

The interesting part is that no one talks about if you have to show the goods you purchase to any customs officer when you check in for your flight back. Well, basically you can just check in the items you bought. You don’t have to bring it as carry on. After you enter the departure gate, there is a counter for customs to look at the refunds. Basically the officer didn’t bother and just asked me to deposit all the receipts in a box at the counter and off I went. That’s how simple it is.

Wrapping a wonderful trip.

Spent the last day of my Japan trip in Tokyo. Had a full day to roam around before making my way to the airport. Stopped by this amazing mall with amazing cafe. The coffee is really good. The ambience was nice as I sat down watched as the world go by in front of you. Makes me just want to sit there for as long as possible. Will try to compile the photos and put up a itinerary for a trip to Kyoto in time to come.

Random…

Was taking a walk this morning and stumbled this plant/flower. Not sure what’s the name but it seems pretty common here. Interesting thing is that I’ve not seen them this big before. Coincidentally, I managed to snap some others in different stages of blooming. Check out the bokeh effect.

Lazing the holiday away

Has been quite a dramatic and eventful holiday with a trip to the hospital. But all is well now and taking some time to enjoy what’s left of the festive season. We should never take things for granted and must be somehow prepared but yet not paranoid and be pessimistic. It’s all about striking the perfect balance. Enjoy a wonderful Monday everyone.